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Neato Botvac BV85 Review: Robot Vacuum’s Pros and Cons

Sept. 24, 2015
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If you’re considering buying a robot vacuum, you’re presumably looking for an efficient device that can leave your home sparkling clean without you having to lift a finger.

And while you’ve been searching for a cleaner that could’ve come straight out of an episode of “The Jetsons,” you’ve likely seen several different models, including the Neato Botvac BV85.

But will this Neato satisfy all of your home cleaning needs? Before you buy, check out our analysis of everything from pet hair pickup to ease of use to help you decide.

The vacuum

The Neato Botvac BV85 is one of several models from the tech-forward robotic cleaning brand Neato. The Botvac BV85 is described as a “high-performance robot vacuum with all the extras.”

Specifically intended for homes with pets, the product includes a combo brush that’s suited to clean up hair and fur. Additionally, the vacuum comes with a charge base, charge cord, side brush, battery, boundary markers (to block off areas you don’t want cleaned) and three high performance filters.

It uses laser-guided technology to make its way around the house and boasts a large dirt bin. It can be scheduled for daily cleanings or put in motion at a moment’s notice for spot cleaning.

This robot has a suggested retail price of $499, according to the Neato website. It’s available for purchase at retailers such as Amazon and Newegg.

Compare the Neato Botvac BV85 with other top vacuums in NerdWallet’s Best Robot Vacuums of 2015.

The reviews

It sounds good on paper, but how does this robot fare once you let it loose in your home? Our review of the Neato Botvac BV85 is based on our analysis of opinions from vacuum experts and vacuum shoppers alike.

To narrow down the vast field of vacuums, we looked at expert opinions from review sites like The Sweethome, CNET and Good Housekeeping. Next, we analyzed user reviews to see what shoppers had to say.

The Botvac BV85 is a consistently reliable performer, earning an 8.7 overall rating (compared to the 8.6 average among other vacuums we studied).  The vacuum is especially strong with regard to how well it cleans (9.6 compared to 9.0 average), its performance on hardwood floors (10 compared to 9.2 average) and its pet hair pickup (10 compared to 9.2 average).

On the other hand, the vacuum disappoints in some areas. It’s battery life only earned it a 5.0 (compared to 7.0 average), and its ease of emptying/cleaning ranked at 7.3 (compared to 8.7 average).

The pros

In most categories, the Botvac BV85 meets consumers’ expectations. Buyers particularly appreciate the device for its ability to transition between floor types, offering strong suction and efficient pickup on bare floors and carpet alike. They also like the device because it’s easy to program, durable and relatively quiet while in use.

Buyers praised this model most for the following features:

  • Ease of use
  • Performance on bare floors and carpet
  • Pet hair pickup
  • Low noise level during operation

The cons

Consumers note some drawbacks. Users express dissatisfaction with this Neato model’s relatively short battery life, as it needs to be recharged regularly. Additionally, the robot vacuum can become stuck on thick rugs, and it has a propensity to malfunction on black or dark carpeting.

The biggest complaints with this vacuum included:

  • Tendency to get stuck under furniture
  • Inability to move easily on thick rugs

The verdict

In light of its issues with rug and carpet performance, we recommend this vacuum for customers who have more hardwood, tile or bare floor than carpet in their homes. If you’re willing to spend nearly $500, this robot vacuum will get the job done.

But the Neato Botvac BV85 isn’t alone among robot vacuums. See how other robot vacuums stack up:

For more vacuum-buying advice, see:

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.